Just the other day, I had chanced upon by an old article from 2014 by BULLy the BEAR titled “I’ve Zero networth!” which was shared by Kyith of Investment Moats. Both are really talented writers and I regularly read their blogs – check them out if you haven’t done so already!

The title of the blog post caught my attention and naturally, I clicked on it. I read through the content and was intrigued enough to leave a comment, not noticing that the article and comments were last dated 1st December 2014 – haha! I had wanted to write a short post on it but had forgotten, until BigFatPurse wrote a piece on it today.

Omission of HDB Value

Anyway, calculating net worth is pretty easy – add up assets and liability and we’re done. The intriguing (or controversial) part of the blog post is because he omitted the value of his HDB apartment.

Take note that I did not include the market value of my HDB flat.

Of course, this kicked up quite a lively discussion on the comments and I left my (one year late) input as well. In it, I wrote on why I like his way of calculating net worth and would be tempted to do the same because it resonated with some of the thoughts that I have been pondering over.

For simplicity sake, let’s just assume my wife and I live in this apartment until we die, which means selling our home is not an option. I like worst-case scenarios. Also, let’s ignore Lease Buyback Scheme as well. Below is the comment I left on his blog.

I like your method of calculating net-worth, and this is particularly relevant to me because during recent conversations with my wife, we both realized that we have become rather fond of our home and the neighbourhood.

A few years ago, I thought that it would be a “5-years-and-flip” kind of property and I would tend to include the market value of my apartment in net worth calculations. But now, I have started considering the possibility.. that what if we like it so much that we never move? Excluding market value of HDB but including HDB loan would thus makes sense.

There are many reasons for not wanting to move out of my humble apartment for the short/mid term, and that’s another blog post for another day. I’m not too sure why but people seem to enjoy reading my HDB related posts a lot. Maybe it is because these are real stories and based on my experience?

Assets

For assets, I added the following items, which is almost identical to the way BULLy the BEAR does it. I had also omitted the value of my HDB apartment which SRX Property values at around at S$460,000 based on a neighbouring unit in the block next to mine.

  • Cash
  • Savings Account(s)
  • Investment Account(s)
  • PayPal Account
  • CPF Account(s)
  • Investment Holdings
  • Whole Life Insurance Policies – assuming I surrender them today

Liabilities

This section is rather simple for me.

  • Credit Card(s) Outstanding Balance
  • Personal Loan(s)
  • HDB Loan(s) – I divided it by two since it is shared between my wife and me

Net Worth

It took me less time than I imagined, thanks to my awesome budgeting app which I use to keep track of almost everything. My AIA whole life policy took a couple of minutes to generate the surrender value online and using SingPass to log in to CPF and HDB is rather painless these days. Grand total of less than 10-minutes spent and I have the figure.

The final number came up to S$12,142 – plus twenty cents.

Was it surprising? Not really, considering I had omitted the value of my HDB apartment which would inevitably result in a very conservative number. I could have included it and be happy at seeing a huge number. Calculate using whichever method you want. At the end of the day, it is what we make of the number that truly matters.

Well, coming out positive is probably a minor encouragement since things can only get better from here right? My net worth is only 5-figure and I’m OK with it. There, I’ve said it.

Onward!

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